22/03/2023 08:33 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is working smart to ensure that even as it collaborates at the Asean level, it will continue to safeguard the interests of Malaysians, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and businesses.

The people, businesses and economies of the Asean region have faced various impacts of the pandemic, International Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said today.

“However, I believe the pandemic has brought closer family ties and strengthened the spirit of togetherness in Asean while dealing with problems in the region,” he said after attending the 29th Asean Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Retreat in Magelang, Indonesia.

The Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean -BAC) 2023 chairman Arsjad Rasjid briefed the meeting on private sector projects under the Asean umbrella, as well as the main initiatives for the year, said Tengku Zafrul.

“This is the time for Asean to continue to be united, with one voice. Based on current global political developments, this is an opportunity for Asean to shine.

“For example, as a supply chain hub for various other economic regions,” the minister said on his social media page.

Discussions at the AEM this morning revolved around new and existing policies that will increase the capacity of citizens, SMEs and businesses in dealing with current challenges.

“We need to be more holistic and strategic in generating robust, inclusive and sustainable recovery and development for the Asean region.

“The MITI team is working smart to ensure that even as we collaborate at the Asean level, we will continue to safeguard the interests of our people, SMEs and businesses. We also discussed how the business and private sector can work closely with the governments of Asean countries in accelerating integration, among others, in the digitalisation sector, digital economy, sustainability, food security, and supply chain resilience,” he noted.

Tengku Zafrul said that the priorities that underline all of these are inclusiveness, SME empowerment and clear benefits for Asean’s population of 663 million.

“Given that many of these priority projects suffered a setback during the pandemic years, MITI looks forward to working with the Malaysian chapter of Asean-BAC to speed things up,” he said.




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